Steelers Play Just 2 Remaining Teams With Winning Record And Healthy QB

The Pittsburgh Steelers have eight games remaining on their regular season schedule for 2017. They have already won six of their first eight games. And they get to play five of their eight remaining games in the comfort of Heinz Field. Their opponents have also gotten a lot less impressive than they seemed just a short time ago.

Consider this: as we stand here now, the Steelers are looking at the back half of a schedule that includes just two of six teams that can claim both to have a winning record and a healthy quarterback that can help them preserve that winning record.

One of those two teams is, naturally, the New England Patriots, with Tom Brady. That is going to be the game to circle, for obvious reasons. The Steelers simply don’t beat the Patriots very often. They might have to do that at least once to win the Super Bowl this year, if not twice.

The other is the (as of the time of this writing) Tennessee Titans, who come into the day with a 4-3 record after having just crawled by the Browns a week ago. They have Marcus Mariota at quarterback, who saw his season a year ago cut short by a knee injury.

Every other team the Steelers face entered this week with a .500 record or worse or had recently lost their starting quarterback. The division in particular is an ugly affair. The Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco are 4-4 heading into today’s game against the Titans. The Cincinnati Bengals are 3-4. The Cleveland Browns

Each of their three remaining opponents have all lost their starting quarterback. The Indianapolis Colts are lucky to even be 2-6 this year without Andrew Luck. The Steelers will face them next week. The Houston Texans, now 3-4 and turning to Tom Savage, just lost Deshaun Watson.

The Green Bay Packers host the 3-4 Lions tomorrow night with their own 4-3 record, but it will be awfully difficult for them to maintain that without Aaron Rodgers. Their backup, Brett Hundley, is hardly completing half of his passes so far, with one touchdown and four interceptions, though he also has a rushing touchdown.

Their biggest remaining test on the road has to come down to either the Bengals or the Texans. They have had the Bengals’ number for a while now, even in Cincinnati, yet Houston has also lost J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. The Colts are their only other road game.

That means that they get to host the Patriots, the Packers, the Titans, and the Ravens. And the Browns, of course. But suffice it to say that the schedule is set up in such a way that they are getting about the optimal circumstances they could have hoped for.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Jacob

    I take no comfort in the schedule. Their biggest test will be beating all of these teams with losing records

  • Gizmosteel

    Yup. Overcoming their own malaise against weaker is they’re worst opponent.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    This should worry everyone with how we have performed against losing teams. We are 25-24 vs sub 500 teams since Haley took over as the coordinator

  • PleasefireGoodell

    Thus isn’t good. They would do better playing undefeated teams with franchise quarterbacks

  • Orlysteel

    That’s bad news.

  • Yuckmouf

    Another one…” that they are getting about the optimal circumstances they could have hoped for?” Or do you mean that you have hoped for.
    Any team desiring to compete against inferior opponents don’t deserve to be a champion.
    What, you didn’t get the sense of that when James Harrison made his sons give back that charitable trophy, which I applaud him for? Yea, I understand that injuries are unavoidable but to rejoice over a easy win is what troubles me. I don’t think this group needs any so-called divine intervention or outside help!
    Competition is the name of the game and the Steelers are @ the top of the food chain. You see them starting to find themselves by playing with that dominant spirit that they are known for. So if and when they hold up that Lombardi Trophy, come this February, I hope there’s no “asterisk” or question mark to also be inserted with it because in the end you know you know you want the outside world to be saying “yeah, the road to the Super Bowl definitely goes through Pittsburgh!!!”

  • Steve Johnson

    You Said It!!! That’s why it’s hard for me to consider these guys a Championship Team. They completely stink up the joint when they face teams with losing records. Why is that?

    The QB often makes decisions a Rookie QB makes, the Coaching, Players and Scheme appears to be too relaxed. Appears to be, that’s the perception we all get when they don’t show up and play against sub .500 teams. This could be their year, but then again, the Patriots.

  • StolenUpVotes

    Is that using their record at the time or their final record?

  • EdJHJr

    Teams we are supposed to beat……oh no. They might be better off playing the Pats 8 times

  • ThatGuy

    For most teams that’s awesome, for us we’re in deep trouble.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    At the time. Since Haley took over we are 25 and 24 vs teams that are 500 or worse at the time of playing.

  • StolenUpVotes

    Then that is a decieving stat. You get much more out of it by looking at their final record

  • IndianaCarson

    The Steelers have a pretty good shot at winning their division. As an example suppose in the next eight games the Steelers go:
    Steelers 4-4 = 10-6 Steelers 5-3 = 11-5 Steelers 6-2 = 12-4 then to tie
    Ravens 6-2 = 10-6 Ravens 7-1 = 11-5 Ravens 8-0 = 12-4
    Bengals 7-2 = 10-6 Bengals 8-0 = 11-5 Impossible to reach 12-4
    So if the Bengals and/or the Ravens lose 2 or more games it will be very hard for either one of them to win the division over the Steelers.

  • SteelerFanInMD

    I agree. They need experience against top QBs to get through the playoffs and win the Superbowl.

  • Ralph Wagner

    This off week will do more damage than good for the Steelers. Meaning all the accolades by the media and their 6-2 record will have the coaches and players in cruse control. We all have seen plenty of times how they don’t show up against teams with losing records. Hopefully they have learned from the past. Nah, who am I kidding. That’s just a Tomlin thing.

    Go Steelers

  • John Pennington

    If the team dont show up like the Bears game it doesnt matter who at qb on the other team.

  • Chris92021

    I am worried. Michael Mosgrove has a point. Since Haley took over the OC duties, the Steelers are essentially a .500 team against teams which are .500 or worse when the Steelers played them. Sure, a few of them ended up pretty good at the end of the season (2015 Chiefs, 2016 Dolphins, maybe the 2017 Jaguars) but the narrative about the Steelers being bad against teams with losing records (especially on the road) is very real. The pressure is squarely on Mike Tomlin because honestly this is a team built to win the Super Bowl RIGHT NOW but if they don’t end up being one of the top 2 seeds in the AFC, the coaching staff will be under heavier scrutiny than usual. I admit I was a fan of Haley for the first 3-4 seasons he’s been with us but now feel he is part of the bigger issue along with Big Ben, who’s always had red zone issues (save for when Whisenhunt was the OC). The pressure is on everyone. If they don’t blow out the Colts next week and struggle to beat them (I don’t even want to imagine losing to them), Tomlin can expect more drama, which he hates.

  • Matt Manzo

    It seems unreal! Part of me is happy, part of me is bummed we don’t get to face the full competition.
    This is Ben’s chance to face those road demons, too!

  • PaeperCup

    Great, the steelers two biggest kryptonites in play, Tom Brady and a sub .500 team

  • PaeperCup

    All in all its a difficult stat to use. You are right when looking at it at the fate of game because we could be playing an 0-1 team or a 1-2 team. Looking at the end season stat can be better, but that record doesn’t tell the what if the steelers lost to them when they were 4-0 but then the team ended up 8-8.

    I wish we could jist look at every team as being and NFL caliber team with potential to win any Sunday. Except for the browns

  • DirtDawg1964

    Whisenhunt had one year, 2005, where the RZ off was good. It was 4th (as measured by percentage of RZ drives that ended in TDs – the only stat I could find). His other two years as OC he was 17th and 21st and both of those years were worse than Haley has performed up until this year.

    There is little doubt the team has been exceedingly average in the RZ during Tomlin’s time with the team – and Haley’s and Ben’s. During the Tomlin reign, the team has been 12th to 19th in RZ offence eight times. Once they were top ten (2007) and twice they’ve been worse. However, until this year they’ve always converted 50% or more of their RZ trips into TDs (ranging from 50.91% to 59.32%). This year they are dreadful at 41.38% and ranking 30th.

    I only have four years of data for Cowher’s tenure. He was 16th, 21st, 4th and 17th.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The great thing about championships is that all you have to do is win it. You don’t have to “deserve” it.

  • Yuckmouf

    Hmmm, sho’ u right, and judging by the feeble style and text of your writing it would be safe to say that the Pulitzer Prize is something that you will not get….and, you prolly don’t deserve!

    Humbly yours,
    Yuckmouf

  • Matthew Marczi

    What a mature comment. What would even trigger you to write that? What is wrong with you?

  • Yuckmouf

    Sir,

    Blame it on freedom of speech that was my inspiration, and, you should check yourself first and see what possibly could be wrong with you!!

  • ocmyst

    Playing good competition is essential to developing into a better team. Sloppy games with sloppy teams is not helpful once in the playoffs

  • Michael Mosgrove

    i disgaree. its more accurate. what their final record was doesnt matter. what matters is at the time of game we were unprepared for those teams. THAT matters.

  • Some of us do. but that is what we have the Detractors for.

  • It’s really not. You are basing your claim on incomplete information.

    On any given Sunday.

  • Expecting them to blow out other professional teams might be a bit extreme in the expectation department don’t you think? I mean the Colts do have some pretty good players.

    I personally don’t care how many points are scored as long as it’s one more than the Colts.

  • StolenUpVotes

    No it doesn’t. That doesn’t show the caliber of team they are. Maybe they hot a rough patch. Maybe they had some injuries and either got healthy as they played the steelers or depth guys started to get more comfortable in a starting role. Maybe some bad luck put them in the whole. So many variables. Their final record is the much more accurate assessment of the team.

  • MC

    I like the idea of finishing with a good record due to the lack of quality teams but im worried that they won’t be battle tested for good teams in the playoffs.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    the finished record doesnt go into mindset of the teams at the time of the game. the mindset of the teams at the time does.

    if say i dunno the buccaneers game that we lost to a few years ago. we were unprepared for that game. their final record was bad but the mindset at the time is they wanted to beat us. which they did.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    that is yours and hardpunkkores opinion. this is mine. variables aside. we have lost for a variety of reasons to teams we had no business losing to.

  • Richard Edlin

    Sir,

    I believe your bridge is unattended. You had better return lest untolled billy goats pass.

  • Yea but loosing to a 3-4 team that finishes 9-7 or 10-6 like the Dolphins last year or the Chiefs the year before skews those results. We injuries are part of the reason why the team we played cime in with a loosing record? There is too many variable to make a blanket statement like you claim.

    Ans that detraction statment that all those looses are because they weren’t prepared. The Bears game this year, they ost because they turn the football over. Eli Rogers muffing a punt makes this team ill prepared? No that called failing to execute. And being that Jax is 5-3, they have been proven to be pretty dominant at times this season, especially on defense. I picked Tenn to win that division before the season started, but at he mid season mark, I think most will now pick Jax to win it. With that defense and running game they will be a tough out in the playoffs.

  • Yuckmouf

    Sir Richard Edlund,

    Are you keeping yourself at the lawfully mandated distance away from public schools where little children play and who are vulnerable to stories similar to these that predators tell?